Many SMEs are not taking advantage of training which could be available to train their staff, according to a new report.Research carried out by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) suggests that 57 per cent of SMEs are not using free or low-cost training opportunities which are available at local further education (FE) institutes.Nearly half (43 per cent) of SMEs were not even aware that courses at FE colleges offered subsidised courses to local business workers.However, the report found that companies which used the training courses offered at local colleges said they were useful. Nine out of ten (87 per cent) SMEs which used the available courses to train employees thought that the results were beneficial to their company."The findings clearly highlight the competitive benefits to employers of using furthereducation training," said Bill Rammell, the higher and further education minister."The challenge for FE providers is to engage with business so they make best use of this, and be aware of the choice, value, and relevance of training on offer. Providers must adapt to meet the needs of employers," Mr Rammell added.Ray Dowd, of the LSC explained that FE colleges needed to foster "closer relationships" with SMEs. He added that the training institutes need to lean to speak "the language of business and that means talking about how training increases productivity and profitability as well as giving learners a qualification".© Adfero Ltd

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